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The Green Life: San Francisco Leads the Way in Urban Agriculture

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April 29, 2011

San Francisco Leads the Way in Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture After years of a being tailored for large-scale, industrialized production, the U.S. food system isn't the most welcoming place for organic or micro-level farmers. Last week, though, San Francisco's mayor, Ed Lee, planted a seed to change that when he passed a new ordinance to make urban agriculture much more accessible to those living within city limits.

Hailed as "precedent-setting," the new legislation makes urban agriculture legal in all city zones, greatly reduces the cost to convert vacant city-owned lots into gardens, and allows urban farmers to sell their produce to restaurants and residents legally.

With some 50 gardens, San Francisco is already a leader in the growing urban-ag movement, along with other cities including Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New York, and Milwaukee. As the movement grows, local legislatures are heeding the call of food activists and taking steps to reform their zoning codes. The result for residents is increased access to locally grown food, a chance to participate in a community-based system, as well as greener and more livable urban spaces. 

--Rosie Spinks

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